It has been a while since I have posted a blog, but now that the Northeast carpet fest is over, it is time to get things rolling again.
I have been working towards a goal that I have had since I was a kid and was flipping through the book “Pythons and Boas" by Peter Stafford, and that goal is to keep, breed and field herp all of the species of pythons. This will be a life long goal that I may never accomplish, but it will be a hell of a journey.
I wanted to start with my favorite group of pythons. The carpet python complex. I wanted to write something for the new carpet python enthusiasts out there. I will hit on the following topics:
  • Overview of the carpet python complex
  • Carpet Python Morphs- Intro
  • Carpet Python Morphs- advanced
  • Carpet Python Localities
  • Care for carpet pythons
  • Breeding carpet pythons
  • And more!!!
I will also be putting out some YouTube videos on the exact same thing.


Intro
When I first got interested in carpet pythons I was really having a hard time figuring out what was a morph and what was a subspecies, what was pure and what was a cross……. And what did that even mean? The thing that really screws people up is that you are dealing with a multitude of ideas all at once. If you look at something like ball pythons, it doesn’t matter what you morph you breed to what you will produce ball pythons but the same cannot be said for carpet pythons.
The thing that most attracted me to carpet pythons is the variation from snake to snake. They have to be the most varied group of pythons around.
They get a decent size, but yet not too big. They handle very easily. They have a bad rap for being aggressive, but they are 99% of the time very chill adults. They do have a strong feeding response which is very different than being aggressive. They make great display snakes and are essentially bulletproof.
The Carpet Python Complex
So let’s first break down the carpet python complex. Carpet pythons belong to the genus Morelia. The big characteristic of snakes belonging to Morelia is their prehensile tail. Carpet pythons are a medium sized python and they are one of the most variable group of pythons on the planet.
They are made up of the following:
  • Diamond python- Morelia spilota spilota
  • Papuan carpet python (aka Irian Jaya or IJ) (Morelia spilota harrisoni)
  • Darwin carpet python (Morelia spilota variegata)
  • Coastal carpet python (Morelia spilota mcdowelli)
  • Jungle carpet python (Morelia spilota cheynei)
  • Inland carpet python (Morelia spilota metcalfei)
  • Southwestern carpet python (Morelia imbricata) This is also a full species.
So what about Bredli?
Morelia bredli or Centralian python is a sister lineage to the M.spilota lineage. They have been separated from the carpet python complex for about 10 million years. There has been some confusion with this species and over the years they have been listed by some authors as a spilota subspecies but the truth is that M. bredli had always been a full species. They are located in the center of Australia in and around the MacDonnell Ranges and are separated from the rest of the carpet pythons by desert. Think of it like an arid island that is surrounded by even drier desert.



Carpet Python Base Morphs
*I will include only the morphs that have proved out to date. I will go more in depth with each morph in a later blog. These are all snakes that I own. There are 2 that I don’t have so I didn’t include a picture. You can check out all of the carpet python morphs on the MPR morph page. http://www.moreliapythonradio.com/Morphs-of-the-Morelia-complex.html
Diamond python
  • Stardust or reduced pattern diamond (RPD). Although, this hasn’t been officially proved out my guess is that it is recessive.

Coastal Carpet python
  • Jag- is an incomplete dominant gene that produces a lethal white super. It is the same thing that you see with the spider ball python. They have the same neurological issues that are seen in the spider ball python. Here is a past blog that I did on the history of the jag morph. http://ericburke.postach.io/post/the-jaguar-morph


  • Tiger- is a polygenic gene that basically is a striped carpet. The main thing that I would say would make a striped carpet a tiger is the lineage. If it can be traced back to Jason Baylin’s line of stripes, then they are considered tigers. If a striped carpet does not trace back to that line, then I would consider them a striped carpet. At the end of the day, they are phenotypically the same thing.

  • Axanthic- as of late, there is some controversy with this gene. Once believed to be recessive, it is coming to light that this gene may in fact be incomplete dominant.

  • Caramel- is an incomplete dominant trait.

  • Red- the genetics are not 100% worked out on this morph.

  • Hypo- is an incomplete dominant trait. This gene reduces the amount of black.

Papuan carpet pythons. Aka Irian Jaya carpet pythons
  • Granite- is a recessive gene. In the early days there was a lot of issues associated with this gene, however outcrossing has proven to fix them.

  • Axanthic-
    As of late, there is some controversy with this gene. Once believed to be recessive, it is coming to light that this gene may in fact be incomplete dominant. Stay tuned for my thoughts as I hatch them out.

  • Tiger- this is a polygenic gene that is basically a striped PCP.

Jungle carpet pythons
  • Zebra- is an incomplete dominant trait. The super form is a patternless snake.

  • Ivory- is an selectively bred trait that replaces the yellow with a bone white color.

  • Striped- this is a polygenic trait that works the same way as with coastal tigers.
  • Axanthic- Roger Lester, from Australia proved out an axathic that is a pure jungle carpet.

Darwin carpet pythons
  • Albino- this gene is recessive.

  • Tiger- this gene is polygenic and works the same as with other striped carpet pythons.
There is a melanistic Darwin that has been proved out in Australia.

Inland carpet pythons
  • Silver Pepper- This is a recessive gene that was proved out in Australia by Darren Whittaker.

I hope that this gives you an overview of the carpet pythons and carpet python base morphs.
To date, there has been a lot of work done with carpet python morphs, making different combos by crossing the subspecies' together to create what we call designer carpet pythons.
The thing to take into account, when you make an albino jag you are actually crossing subspecies and that animal now becomes a cross. Some breeders are against crossing the subspecies with the goal of preserving the "pure" lines. The issue is that even if the animal is sold as a cross, later down the line when the snake has changed hands for whatever reason it then becomes "pure". That is something that you must think about and take into account when breeding carpet pythons.
I take the approach of doing both. I want to preserve the purity of the bloodlines/morphs so that they are available for future carpet python enthusiasts, but I also like to mix things up and create cool looking combos.
In the next blog I will hit on some of the natural history of the carpet python complex.
Thanks for the support!
Eric Burke
EB Morelia